4 ways to eat healthy when your office is working against you

Cookies, upon donuts, upon farewell cakes for employees. Alcohol at happy hour. The sweet and salty treats never seem to end at work, so how in the world are you supposed to maintain a healthy diet? Here are a few things to keep in mind if this is your mission.

Photo: Shaun Fisher via Flickr

Cookies, upon donuts, upon farewell cakes for employees. Alcohol at happy hour. The sweet and salty treats never seem to end at work, so how in the world are you supposed to maintain a healthy diet?

Here are a few things to keep in mind if this is your mission.

Don’t wait until you’re hungry to figure out lunch

If you want to make healthy decisions, it might be too late by then.

Ron Friedman, Ph.D., a psychologist, author and founder of ignite80, writes about this in the Harvard Business Review.

He notes that you should “make your eating decisions before you get hungry. If you’re going out to lunch, choose where you’re eating in the morning, not at 12:30 PM. If you’re ordering in, decide what you’re having after a mid-morning snack. Studies show we’re a lot better at resisting salt, calories, and fat in the future than we are in the present.”

Pack healthy things to look forward to

This might just help curb your temptation. You want to make sure you’ve packed a snack that you’ll actually want to eat when faced with more attractive options at work. Maybe you stopped at a farmers market on the weekend and picked up some fresh fruit that’s in season, or discovered something with the flavors you crave that won’t send you into a downward sugar spiral.

Marion Nestle, a nutritionist, researcher at New York University and author of  What to Eat, told Allure about what you can pack for lunch.

“Bring in a few simple meals and snacks from home. Aim for a mix of lean proteins and fiber, which have been shown to increase the feeling of fullness: Stash a bag of mixed seeds, walnuts, and raisins in your drawer or keep low-fat string cheese or fruit in the fridge. For lunch, go for a mixed-green salad and grilled chicken,” she told the publication.

Need some more lunchbox inspiration? Check out this list of recipes from The Muse.

Don’t go crazy at happy hour — even if your coworkers do

It may not be a good idea to when the beer and wine start flowing.

John Rampton, an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing expert, and founder of online invoicing company Due, writes in Entrepreneur that you should “limit alcohol” at happy hour when you’re trying to lead a healthier lifestyle.

“As tempting as it can be to indulge in a happy hour drink after work, it’s one of the worst ways to add calories to your diet,” he writes. “While the occasional drink or two won’t hurt, it’s important to moderate your alcohol consumption, especially if the rest of your diet is severely lacking.”

Reward yourself every once and a while

Completely depriving yourself is no way to live — when you’re not dealing with a ton of food allergies and dietary restrictions for medical reasons, that is.

Make sure you treat yourself to the things you love the most from time to time.

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.